"Set 'em to cool, Edwin, set 'em to cool," the old man besought, in the  midst of his grief, making no attempt to wipe away the tears that  still flowed from his eyes. "And cool a crab, Edwin, too. You know your  grandsire likes crabs." From the coals arose a great sizzling, which proceeded from the many  mussels bursting open their shells and exuding their moisture. They were  large shellfish, running from three to six inches in length. The boys  raked them out with sticks and placed them on a large piece of driftwood  to cool. "When I was a boy, we did not laugh at our elders; we respected them."

The boys took no notice, and Granser continued to babble an incoherent  flow of complaint and censure. But this time he was more careful, and  did not burn his mouth. All began to eat, using nothing but their hands  and making loud mouth-noises and lip-smackings. The third boy, who was  called Hare-Lip, slyly deposited a pinch of sand on a mussel the ancient  was carrying to his mouth; and when the grit of it bit into the old  fellow's mucous membrane and gums, the laughter was again uproarious. He  was unaware that a joke had been played on him, and spluttered and spat  until Edwin, relenting, gave him a gourd of fresh water with which to  wash out his mouth. "Where's them crabs, Hoo-Hoo?" Edwin demanded. "Granser's set upon  having a snack." Again Granser's eyes burned with greediness as a large crab was handed  to him. It was a shell with legs and all complete, but the meat had long  since departed. With shaky fingers and babblings of anticipation, the  old man broke off a leg and found it filled with emptiness. "The crabs, Hoo-Hoo?" he wailed. "The crabs?" "I was fooling Granser. They ain't no crabs! I never found one." The boys were overwhelmed with delight at sight of the tears of senile  disappointment that dribbled down the old man's cheeks. Then, unnoticed,  Hoo-Hoo replaced the empty shell with a fresh-cooked crab. Already  dismembered, from the cracked legs the white meat sent forth a small  cloud of savory steam. This attracted the old man's nostrils, and he  looked down in amazement. The change of his mood to one of joy was immediate. He snuffled and  muttered and mumbled, making almost a croon of delight, as he began  to eat. Of this the boys took little notice, for it was an accustomed  spectacle. Nor did they notice his occasional exclamations and  utterances of phrases which meant nothing to them, as, for instance,  when he smacked his lips and champed his gums while muttering:  "Mayonnaise! Just think—mayonnaise! And it's sixty years since the last  was ever made! Two generations and never a smell of it! Why, in those  days it was served in every restaurant with crab." When he could eat no more, the old man sighed, wiped his hands on his  naked legs, and gazed out over the sea. With the content of a full  stomach, he waxed reminiscent. "To think of it!